“The Social Network” is the best film no one will see this year. It opened up at number one but only $23 million. Hopefully word of mouth will go viral on this masterpiece because the hardest thing will be getting people into theaters to see it. Once they’re in, Fincher and Sorkin have won. People oblivious to the founding of Facebook have no idea what a great story is in the source material.
I read an article in Rolling Stone a few years ago about Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard and how he led some people along while he took their idea and put it online screwing them over. This made me dislike Zuckerberg yet I still opened a Facebook account a few months later because I wanted to connect with old friends and Myspace had run its course.
This movie might not work financially because average Joe Moviegoer doesn’t know who David Fincher is much less Aaron Sorkin. The idea for a Facebook movie sounds stupid until you hear Aaron Sorkin, the man behind “The West Wing”, “Charlie Wilson’s War”, and “A Few Good Men” is writing and David Fincher from “Fight Club, “Seven” and “Zodiac” was directing. I will see any movie either of them are involved in. I was there opening night when they decided to super team together for a movie.
“The Social Network” even brought in Trent Reznor, the man behind Nine Inch Nails to score the soundtrack with Atticus Ross that rivals Hans Zimmer’s for “Inception” for best score of the year. Reznor adds a whole dimension of tension with the score that lurks in the background while Zuckerberg hacks or devises algorithms. The score fills the film with danger and paranoia. Only the three masterminds of Fincher, Sorkin and Reznor could make a movie set for a good part in depositions engaging.
I knew the film was going to be great when The White Stripes “Ball and Biscuit” opened the film. Zuckerberg, Jesse Eisenberg, is talking to Erica Albright, Rooney Mara, about how super smart people in China differentiate themselves. This leads the socially oblivious Zuckerberg to talk about Harvard’s “Final Clubs”, elite clubs that allow you to make friends and contacts. Zuckerberg says if he were to get into one, he would take Erica with him to meet people she wouldn’t get to meet otherwise. Unaware of how offended Erica is, Mark asks about getting something to eat, then Erica breaks up with Mark.
Mark then goes home, starts drinking and blogging about Erica criticizing her name and her bra size. Then he wants to set up a page where people can rank how hot girls are on campus. He hacks into Harvard’s Housing webpages to take pictures to set up the site. The face smash site is so popular it crashes the network.
This gets him the attention of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who meet with Mark to see if he could do the coding and programming for a social networking site for all Harvard students. In their conversation, Mark talks of an application he created that Microsoft wanted to buy but he uploaded it for free. Mark agrees to help them with their site.
We find out all we need to know about Zuckerberg in the first twenty minutes. He’s socially awkward, doesn’t care about money, ridiculously smart and wants to be popular. These traits follow him throughout the film.
His friend Eduardo Saverin, Andrew Garfield, who helped him with the algorithm for the face smash website, helps Mark with the start up cash for the social network idea, not knowing the idea came from the Winklevoss brothers. Eduardo is invited to start a process for a final club called the Phoenix Club. Mark is noticeably jealous that Eduardo was chosen.
After delaying and stalling with the Winklevoss brothers, Mark launches the Facebook website. This leads to success and notoriety for Mark and Eduardo followed by legal action by the Winklevoss brothers. Instead of shutting the site down, Mark expands it, adding more colleges to the site. When it gets to Stanford, Napster founder Sean Parker, Justin Timberlake, is intrigued by the site and must be a part of it.
The story goes back and forth through testimony in two depositions to give us the beginning of Facebook. I left liking Mark Zuckerberg more than I did before the film. He became CEO of a hugely successful company in his early twenties so he was acting like someone who is CEO of a hugely successful company in his early twenties. Example: Business cards that say, “I’m CEO Bitch!!”
While most of us would listen to music or drink after a breakup, Mark starts a site that gets the Harvard network to crash. Mark needs an Uncle Ben to tell him, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
While Zuckerberg is in his own bubble looking to grow the company and Sean Parker is the human equivalent of Russian Roulette, Eduardo is the most levelheaded character, the cautious one, the responsible one. Jesse Eisenberg gives us a reason to like Zuckerberg through all of his flaws. Andrew Garfield gives us the one rational voice amidst all the chaos. Justin Timberlake nails it as vengeful partier Parker.
This is Fincher’s best work since 1999’s “Fight Club” and Sorkin’s best work since “The West Wing.” “The Social Network” shows us not how we interact online but how we destroy people behind their back and to their face. This film is infinitely more interesting than anything any of your friends could post in two hours on Facebook. Take the time to go see this movie.